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IRS Criminal Investigation Atlanta Field Office encourages taxpayers to be  vigilant against tax season scammers through education

ATLANTA – With the kickoff of tax season on Jan. 23, taxpayers are being asked to be especially vigilant  against scammers who will be working extra hard trying to take advantage of them during this period. 

“It is important for taxpayers to educate themselves on the tactics criminals use when trying to separate  them from their hard-earned money,” said James E. Dorsey, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal  Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. “On the IRS.gov website, taxpayers can enter the word scams in the  search bar for information on the types of scams criminals are using.” 

One of the scams criminals are using involves calling taxpayers posing as IRS agents to steal taxpayer  money and personal information. 

“Taxpayers can avoid being victims of these scams by knowing the IRS will never ask for specific  payments, threaten to bring in law enforcement or make any kinds of threats,” Dorsey said. “I  encourage taxpayers to read their rights as taxpayers.” 

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights, adopted in 2014, has a set of fundamental rights taxpayers should be aware  of when dealing with the IRS. A list and video explaining the ten rights can be found at  https://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/get-help/taxpayer-rights/.

It is also important that taxpayers choose their tax preparers carefully.  

“There are many honest tax preparers who help their clients submit their returns properly,” Dorsey said.  “Unfortunately, there are tax preparers who engage in unscrupulous activities, including inflating  personal or business expenses, creating false deductions and excessive exemptions.” 

Although in many cases, the client is unaware of the tax preparer’s actions, they still can be held  accountable for their return. 

“The taxpayer client must remember that they are ultimately responsible for the tax return that is filed  with the IRS,” Dorsey said. “Taxpayers can visit the IRS website for tips on finding a quality tax preparer.” 

For more information on how to avoid scams concerning taxes, visit the IRS website at  https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/avoid-scams-know-the-facts-on-how-the-irs-contacts-taxpayers.

Tips to avoid fraud this filing season: 

1. Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a preparer who is available year-round. 

2. Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers  are required to have one.  

3. Don’t use a ghost preparer. They won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you.  

4. Don’t fall victim to tax preparers’ promises of large refunds. If it’s too good to be true, it  probably is. All taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.  

5. Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax  returns filed with the IRS.  

6. Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account,  not your tax preparer’s.  

7. The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up, it’s a  scam!  

8. Don’t respond to or click links in text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the  IRS. They may contain malware that could compromise your personal information.  

9. Protect your personal and financial information. Never provide this information in response to  unsolicited text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS.  

10. Report fraud to law enforcement. Submit Form 3949-A, Information Referral, if you suspect an  individual or a business is committing fraud.